Campaign of the Month: August 2018

The Praise of Old Men

Chapter One: The Spice Merchants Of Sel-kai: Part Fifteen

Yesterday's Heroes

Cautious and deeply suspicious of the nature of the curious "portal" that they have discovered, the party decide to investigate the locked and warded treasury that they have discovered. There are a total of six chests, four of which bear locks. Each of the four bears a single enameled letter: "M", "P", "A" or "V". The companions quickly deduce that these correspond to the four tombs that they have found and wary of traps decide to search the sarcophagi to see if they can find a safer means of opening the chests than relying on Cherry's picks. Keys are indeed found on each of the four biers, hidden in the ornate stonework of the surface detail and with some trepidation Cherry gingerly begins the task of opening the chests. All contain well preserved expensive clothing that perhaps belonged to the four "heroes" whose tombs the party have discovered. Enchanted items are also found among the clothes; the strange brass telescope is assembled by Ugnan and though its detailed workings are still something of a mystery he does discover that the item can be used to view and thus "see" the magic embedded in an item. wrist bracers (Malthus), a deck of fortune-telling cards (Patience), two copper rings (Alphaeus) and a necklace of brightly decorated seeds (Verisimilitude) are lifted out of the chests. A small buckler resting on a wooden stand and a whip, neatly coiled on a side table are similarly "detected" and picked up. While the party stow these treasures, Cran recovers the heavy mail armor from Reave The Just's chamber, it too is magical. The final two chests, both without locks, contain a magic quiver with twenty arrows (also enchanted) and a "Wing Stone" which is identified by Sylke who remembers seeing similar Stones in use; they can detect distances if dropped down a shaft, produce light and detect Essence, Mentalism and Channeling (within fifty feet).

Ugnan now uses the arcane telescope to look at the Portal that has been fashioned from an enormous mirror. The telescope is able to penetrate the icy frost that has covered the mirror and Ugnan can see beyond the mirror into a deep pine forest in full winter. Deep snow blankets everything like a shroud and hangs heavy off every branch and leaf. Wood smoke from a small crofters hut climbs into the still air, blood lies in a thick splatter near the door. Though the scene looks as if it could be from Kulthea, Ugnan is not convinced that stepping through the portal would be wise.

The party gather around the small pitted stone table in the treasure room, aware that they have still not found a way out and now turn their attention to the oddly pitted table. Cherry suggests that they use the acid in Galen's room to see if the scoring on the table is important in someway. Cran carefully ferries acid into the room from Galen's tomb using the horn and as the acid is poured onto the table, the solid stone surface reacts and liquefies to reveal a crystal scrying surface beneath. The party can see an enormous marbled throne room that seems to have been carved out of some sort of icy cavern. Huge ice crystals descend from a high vaulted ceiling and elegantly dressed courtiers dance, talk and laugh as a sting quartet plays in the distance. A stunningly beautiful and imperious woman studies her courtiers, a mix of human, elf and other races (goblins, boggarts, pixies and all manner of fey). As the party stares into the mirror she looks up from her reverie and stares back, her face contorts from an icy unreadable mask to one of absolute fury, "Return what they stole! Your world will fall and I will not care!" As she screams this at the party, she waves a hand and the table begins to turn once again to stone. Ugnan has the presence of mind to ask for more information before the scrying crystal is covered and learns that the woman seeks "The Heart Of Agoth". 

Cran is encouraged to try the horn that he carries, gathering around the large circular table in the central chamber, the party again ponder the lines and references to "heroes". Removing the silver end piece, Cran sounds the horn with a mighty blast that resonates and rumbles throughout the crypt. Sound fills the chambers and the party can hear the notes echoing above, answering noises can be heard from the sarcophagi as the five heroes the party have discovered "return". All seem friendly and converse for a brief time before reluctantly "returning" to their "slumber". It is clear that the five were a band with deep bonds of friendship and seem pleased to have been awoken, albeit for a brief span of time. They also encourage the party but refer to both themselves and the party members in a rather odd way and each seems to identify with one of the companions.

Reave The Just, "the Heart" associates with Cran and is pleased that the burly warrior has taken his armor. Malthus, "the Arm" acknowledges Sharna and is pleased with her demeanor and professionalism. Patience, "the Eyes" does not wake fully and tells Cherry that she is "chained" and unable to join her "brothers", with very limited time she tells Cherry that "Only The Heart Of Agoth will keep the Azydaer away from The Gates. Look where the waters are stored beneath the city, where The Iron Bell tolls". She too is pleased to see that someone else can now take up her mantle. Verisimilitude, "the Head" praises Ugnan for his detective work so far and infuriatingly refuses to answer any direct questions put to him; he is confidant that Ugnan will "assemble the pieces". Alphaeus, "the Voice" speaks for the longest of the five and does so with Sylke. He candidly tells her that Malthus was deeply hurt and ashamed when Patience was "lost", he tells Sylke to "Look out for The Heart, when ours broke, we fell"

All of the shades fade away and the party head back up to the Orgillion crypt. They cautiously explore the final tombs but discover little except for an odd black cube that has blocked a drain in the tomb of "Nero Orgillion, the builder". With no way out, the companions head back to the door that bars their exit. Desperate for a way out, Cherry searches the steps to see if their is a trigger mechanism for the door; replacing the four stones on the original pedestals achieves nothing. Cran and the others search amongt the debris of the collapsed statue on the eastern wall. Cherry fails to find any way out but Ugnan and Cran spot a small square crevice in the still intact plinth, exactly the same size as the black stone they recovered from Nero's tomb; this opens the door and the companions escape. They decide to take both of the crypt keys with them and lock the door behind them. They also remove the four black stones that are needed to open the hidden staircase to the second level.

The night air is damp and cold and they decide to head back to the small village of Bajorkham and their faithful beast of burden, Spotted Jim.




Situation Report Fifteen
Chronicles of Cran Crannock

Magic and Revelations

The final room is readily accessed using the three-piece-key. It contains five chests of treasure and we believe that it contains something of importance. Ugnan fills the horn and takes a full long pulls of crisp pure water, resulting an an immediate invigoration. The room contains six chests, a whip and a stand with a gold buckler.

We investigate the six chests in the room and other treasures.

The Treasures:

Large black chest trapped and locked 'M'

Studded wrist guards (+10 DB) [Sharna]

Shimmery chest, phasing in and out, with a 'P'

Ivory Fortune-Telling Cards (useful to Seers or Mentalist)

Chest un-trapped and locked with 'A'

Necklace decorated with different nutshell beads, representing a different image of animals (+25 to Linguistics, 10% chance of understanding any language) [Sylke]

Chest un-trapped and locked with a 'V'

Cherry discovers that the trap is an electrical discharge
Two magical copper rings, one plain, one broad (+1 Spell Adder; x2 Spell multiplier) [Ugnan]

Unmarked chest

Simple quiver + 20 arrows (Quiver: 5 OB and 5 initiative [Cherry] with a bow; 20x +20 magical long-bow arrows [Cran])

Unmarked chest

Wing Stone (enchanted, it can be dropped or thrown and gradually returns to the attuned persons hand, glows all the time with different colours of it detects essence, mentalism or channeling [Sylke])

Ugnan decides to construct the strange looking tube but doesn't note anything particularly insightful when he looks through it. He swings it to the glowing orb of light and it becomes clear that the telescope view changes colour when it is pointed at something magical. With this knowledge, we use it to go around the rooms again and the following items also detect as magical.

  • Whip (+5 OB, +15 climb bonus ['Indiana Jones' style – Cherry])
  • 'Phase' Chest 'P'
  • Gold Buckler (+5 DB, light, anti-gravity property that supports Ugnan's weight while slowly descending 10 ft. every two seconds) [Ugnan].
  • Chain Armour in Reave's Room (fits Cran, AT 15, encumbers as AT 13, +10 DB) [Cran].
  • Portal Mirror

As Ugnan concentrates on the portal with the telescope, he is able to focus in on a winter scene with a small hut, blood-stains in the snow outside, and a creature flits across his vision before he pulls the telescope away from his eye.

Cherry reasons that there may be hidden keys corresponding to the chests in the heroes rooms. Bingo! Her hunch is correct and after a careful search she returns, a beaming grin splitting her face, with four stone keys. The keys correspond with four of the rooms we discovered previously and the keys open them all.

Based on Cherry's suggestion I bring a horn full of acid from Galen's room and pour it on the table. We notice that the acid etches the stone to reveal a white crystal layer underneath. After many, many trips with the horn and judicious use of suitable scrapers to remove the rock slurry, we finally reveal a cold, moving scene of a great hall and the figure of a cruel cold Queen Mab! The queen turns her head towards us and intones, "return what they stole. Your world will fall, and I will not care!". The rock on the table slowly begins to reform and before it goes far, Ugnan shouts into the scrying device, "What did they steal?" Mab booms, "The Heart of Agoth."

Ugnan and Cherry are deafened by Mab's booming voice as the table finally stones over.

We decide that Cran should wind the Horn and we all feel somewhat lifted by the blast. As the notes fade we hear breathing from the surrounding rooms. Dashing through to Reave's room, we see a translucent figure materialise. Reave begins to speak with me and Ugnan. He asks what help we need, and smiles when he recognises that I'm wearing his old armour. Reave advises we speak with "The Eyes" of the heroes, Patience.

Patience appears still bound and speaks, "Only the Heart Of Agoth will keep the Azydaer away from The Gates. Look where the waters of the city are stored, where The Iron Bell tolls."

We next enter the room of Verisimilitude, who sits and speaks to Ugnan. "Ah the truth finder. Very impressive." Ugnan and I speak with Verisimilitude for a minute and he seems satisfied with Ugnan and Cran before gradually fading.

After conversing with the apparitions we link them to each of us and our roles.

  • Malthus the Mighty ["The Arm", Sharna]
  • Patience Mother of a Dynasty, First of the Seers [trapped by the demons beneath the City according to Malthus] ["The Eyes", Cherry]
  • Verisimilitude, Truth was Paramount ["The Brain", Ugnan]
  • Althaeus, His Oath is Adamant ["The Voice", Sylke]
  • Reave the Just, Defender of those Beset. He was the Mightiest. ["The Heart", Cran]

Ugnan's Hypothesis

Queen Mab is the Queen of the Azdayer. She is desperate to unlock gateways between the realm of the Fey and Kulthea. The Heart of Agoth is a device to keep the two realms apart. The old heroes strived to protect the world of men from the world of the Fey. The Iron Bell is an organization that has unknown desires.

Sylke Demands we Complete Exploring the Tomb…

We retreat back upstairs, heads still reeling from the revelations.

Next we force a warped door to find two linked tombs: 'Solase, too kind-hearted'; 'Nero, the builder.' In Nero's tomb we spot a grate in the floor, which Chery manages to prise up, revealing a drain blocked by a small black cube. Retrieving the cube we unblock the drain, and also detect that the cube is magical and Essence in nature.

Into the final room we discover nothing of any major value and the chests appear to have been looted. 'Alexander, the Designer', 'Theo, The Trader, he built ships', 'Thomas, The Diplomat, a good servant'.

Into the Damp Night Air

As we strive to find a way out of the tomb, searching everywhere, I notice a small cubic indentation in the broken statue in the entrance. The black cube fits and, with a grinding of stone, the entrance opens again. The sweet smell of freedom. Now, how do we shift the loot?

Situation Report Fourteen (Supplement - Plans and Yawns)
Chronicles of Cran Crannock

"Alright." Cran says with an uncharacteristic note of uncertainty in his voice. "We've dug a fishing hole through the ice here and discovered a whale underneath. Cherry, can you put this key together and check out the locked room? Hopefully it will have some more clues as to the heroes in this place. Sylke and Ugnan, is there anything else in these documents or writings that provides a better clue as to how we're now involved in this mess? The final decision we need to make today is, where do we go next?"

Cran glances at the door to the portal room and continues, "We either head back to The Brine and sail back to Sel-kai to do some further investigating, or step through the mirror. What do you think?"

"Sharna, looks like we're on guard duty again."

“I was born for guard duty”, Sharna replies with a grin as she starts limbering up her wrists.

Ugnan's looks up from the sentence he had read for the fifth time and turns some bleary eyes towards Cran, "There's a lot in here lad but nothing so far." He rubs his eyes and stifles a yawn, "The mirror needs further investigation to be sure but so does some other stuff here before we go. I'd like Lyssa to check out the water logged rooms, if she's up to it. By opening the door to the mirror did that," He gestures towards the horn. "summon anything? Also, I'd like to assemble those tubes and have a look through them, twisting them a bit to see what it reveals." He rubs his beard in thought, "Also that bench by Galen's resting place, why is it there? To seat who?" He ponders some more, clearly trying to resolve some issue within, "Is this place a tomb for the fallen warriors? Was it once a  place of work? Are we the warriors?" Here he falters slightly, "Is it ok for us to loot the dead if it is us who will  be the heroes and need aid? Or will that anger the dead? There are still unopened sarcoph-" A large yawn forces his mouth open stopping his words, "One thing I do know though, I need a drink from that horn to see if it perks me up!"

Cherry: What am I doing here?

Cherry looks around in this crypt that talks of heroes and the world in need. 
“You’re no hero kid”, she says quietly to herself, “you’re a survivor, that’s more important.”
She thinks back to just a few hours ago in that room where the world spun and went blank there was nothing oh so briefly as her mind shut down overwhelmed by that thing, that demon. 
“But you’re here kid, you’re back and you survived, but how?"
Cran, Ugnan, Sharna and Sylke without them you’d be gone or worse, without them I’d have never seen the creature… but where would that have left you? 
A life still on the street surviving on less than nothing but what I can take. Gods, how long ago was that? 
Weeks days months? How life has changed so, I bet my hiding hole in Sel-Kai has already been ransacked or taken over, meh they can have it, and the rats that come with it.  
But what happens next, I know nothing of heroes and magics or fey portals, I know people, scared irrational people, dangerous greedy lust driven secretive. I’m good at finding their secrets, unlocking their barriers and taking their prizes to what pawn off to survive the next day or week?  How heroic… 
What do I know of this team I fell into? 
Cran, the big lummox, a sweet big brother with a terrifying anger, I don’t think any of us beside Sharna could be his match if he lost all control, maybe Sylke can calm him but that’s a dangerous chance to take. 
Ugnan, the book smart father of the group, uncaring of how he is seen for social graces or lack thereof but he will suffer himself for our sakes, that’s a rare trait and one I can’t think of the thought behind, so foreign to me. 
Sylke, undisciplined for one who has such potential for power, curious at every turn, manipulative and on occasion deceitful although I detect no real malice on her part, still be wary of her for one so light in nature on the surface there could be a hidden darkness. 
Sharna, the stoic, so quiet I forget she’s there sometimes yet watching her in action is a sight to behold, I think this woman thinks of nothing but readiness for the next battle. 
Despite my screw ups, they seem to still need me, she grins, well kid we are trapped together so lets make it work and see what happens next, I have enough weight in my purse to buy a small place and live off a job or two if worst comes to worst, always have an out for yourself, so far that’s worked, until we came to this estate.  
So far… 

Chapter One: The Spice Merchants Of Sel-kai: Part Fourteen

Hidden Depths

When the party place the four obsidian stones on the pillars, they trigger a mechanism that causes the central circular mosaic to rotate and then sink some 7 feet into the rock below the crypt. This reveals an even older set of stone steps but unlike the stonework of the Orgillion crypt, these stones are jointed and extremely well mortared. As inviting as this new level is, concerned about possible ambushes,  the party decide to explore the rest of the crypt before descending.

Venturing down the widest of the passages, the companions finally find the tomb of Titus Orgillion, The door to the tomb is trapped and bears a fiendishly difficult lock that tests Cherry to her limits. While she wrestles with the lock, Cran strips the door of the precious mithril bars that were part decoration and part warding device.  After removing the stone sarcophagus lid of the tomb inside, the party discover the precious notebook that the old man wrote and that poor Tobias Orgillion sought. Ugnan skims the book quickly to check its contents and learns off Titus' attempts to infuse his automata with some semblance of life. The notebook also reveals the summoning and banishing rituals that Larkrise and Sunset experimented with and that Titus used. Sadly, Tobias lacked this information and clearly lost control of the demon, T'Chagga, that he summoned. The crypt also contains the final resting place of four children but who these are in relation to Titus the party do not know, brothers and sisters of Hwyell Orgillion, Tobias' father? Chests in the crypt contain masterwork tools and a cunning crafter set of brass tubes that resemble an interlocking telescope. Fashioned in three parts with colored crystal lenses and intricately engraved, the device is clearly of an arcane nature.

A small anteroom to the  side is of far more interest to Cran and a horde of gemstones and silver coins are discovered. There are over two thousand of the old but still valid silver pieces so the party decide to collect the gems (25 rubies, 12 garnets and 20 tourmalines – all uncut) and pearls (12) and possibly return for the coins with their faithful donkey, "Spotted Jim".

The remaining chambers are clearly waterlogged; the small wooden doors have been warped by the water that seeps under the doors and they feel damp to the touch. Fearing a minor flood if the doors are holding back any volume of water, the party decide to head down and explore the lower level while they can.

As the party descend the steps the short passage ahead floods with light from an enchanted stone fashioned into the likeness of a bird. Fist-sized, the stone hovers above the party though the low ceiling (it is only a little over 6 feet high) means that Cran can grasp the stone and pull it closer for inspection. As he does so, the light dims and somewhat reluctantly, the giant lets the stone go. The stone doors at the end of the passage block entry into this mysterious level that has clearly been built on by the Orgillions. Over the doors there is a carved and somewhat cryptic message: "Let he who is brave of heart, enter". There is no obvious lock and no easy means of opening the doors but without any hesitation, Cran marches to the doors, places his hands on either side of the tiny central gap and pushes. The doors open effortlessly to reveal a small anteroom with braziers that spring into a welcoming warm life and a door to the left. A corridor off this anteroom leads to a wider chamber that is dominated by a huge round table.

There is a small brass plate set in the elegant door: "Galen, Master of The Purse, gold like water in all his dealings". The chamber inside is dominated by a deep stone trough that is filled with an caustic black oil. Floating in the oil is a small and rather beautiful ivory horn and what is unmistakeably a corpse wrapped in gold leaf bindings. A large and rather plain stone sarcophagus stands in the corner of the room. There are three small ornate tables, each beautifully finished with an intricate mosaic – each of the tables conceals a part of a key. The chest in the room is empty and has a mirrored bottom. The mirror is able to give the party a glance into the future, as they look into the mirror, their reflections age and each appear perhaps a dozen or so years older save for Sylke of course.

The ivory drinking horn once carefully rinsed is obviously enchanted, those that drink from the vessel feel instantly refreshed and invigorated and get a brief sense of the importance of this peculiar level of the crypt. The discoveries the party will make and the secrets they uncover will forever mark them out, for good or ill, as "heroes". There are four panels on the ivory horn, each has been carefully carved and feature a band of heroic figures.

Stepping over the ominous wardstone shaped like a skull, Cherry leads the way into the chamber the boasts the impressive circular table. The four chambers to the south are empty save for elegant biers that support simple marble sarcophagi. Brass plates reveal the names of those that are possibly entombed:

"Malthus. The mighty. Never broken, Courage beyond reckoning."

"Patience. Mother of a dynasty and first of the seers. She Saw furthest."

"Verisimilitude. Truth is always paramount."

"Alphaeus. His Oath was adamant."

The chamber to the north is more ornate than the others and larger. Belonging to "Reave The Just", the part tomb part shrine also holds an impressive double handed axe of dark metal and a fine suit of chainmail that is too large for any of the party save Cran. However, the group decide to leave the items and venture to the last stone door. This requires a key that is assembled from the sections found in Galen's chamber. 

Sylke is the first to notices the writing that is engraved into the stone table:

"Pity the land that has no heroes. Unhappy a land that has need of heroes"

There is also an odd poem:

"Heroes sleep

The Horn summons

The land rejoices

The sleepers wake"

Perhaps the "horn" mentioned is the one that Cran currently holds?

The passage on the other side of the chamber leads to two final chambers. One is warded by a lethal looking trapped door with a rotating lock mechanism. Fortunately the key that the party assembled from the sections found in Galen's tomb fits the lock. The second chamber has a life sized alabaster statue of an imperiously beautiful fey women holding a huge mirror. The mirror ripples and frosts over as the party watch, it is clearly a portal of some sort and very similar to the one the party found in The Old Sword Inn.

Perhaps this is a means of escaping the crypts?


Situation Report Fourteen
Chronicles of Cran Crannock

Editorial Note: Cran was rushed when noting inscriptions on doors. The correct inscriptions are found here.

We explore the largish crypt we're in – in an alcove looms a statue of a man with his hands covering his eyes – the arms on the statue appear to hinge down, dropping the hands from his eyes. We decide to place the four key stones from the circular entry hall (prism, sphere, irregular, cube) in the columns in the room. Yes, with a grinding of stone, the circle in the centre of the room rotates to reveal stairs going down. After much cajoling from Sylke, we agree to return here later and we next walk through some ankle-deep water to a more modern door containing reinforcement strips of some miraculously untarnished shiny metal.

Cherry investigates the lock, shaped like a gargoyle head, but finds it very difficult to pick. After four hours of Cherry's effort she finally cracks it. In the meanwhile, I manage to prise sufficient strips of what Ugnan believes is mithril to forge a couple of broadsword blades. Ugnan and Sylke have their heads in those books the whole time. Sharna stretches and then stands on guard – stock still for three hours.

Beyond the doors is a large vaulted chamber with four small stone sarcophagi in the corners. A huge stone dias raises an impressively ornate marble sarcophagi. Engraved at the base of the sarcophagi facing you, an inscription reads, "Titus, engineer and philosopher. 5890-5972." There are also two chests containing some incredibly well made tools – obviously Titus' inventor tools. Cherry loots a subset of them to help with trap building.

Opening the sarcophagus reveals a skeleton. Clutched in its left hand is a battered notebook that details the summoning, binding and banishment rituals Titus uncovered in his research. There are also sketches of automata. One of the final sketches focuses on a skull and some sort of diamond in the centre (the construct discovered in the manor we assume), with a scrawled note underneath. "Just needs power, just needs power."

Four small sarcophagi contain desiccated corpses of small children. None of the bodies show signs of violence. We're all very somber after this discovery. There's nothing sadder than corpses of kids.

A smaller wooden door off the side of Titus' burial chamber opens to reveal a small room. Cherry discovers that the roof is trapped – the trap is triggered by anyone tampering with the lock in the chest. Cherry disarms the trap, but is unable to unlock the chest. With a few hefty blows, I manage to cold-chisel the lock off. Opening the lid reveals uncut rubies, garnets, tourmalines, pearls and a lot of silver coins. We also find three silver tubes that slot together, containing coloured lenses. The tubes are etched with fine engravings of different scenes: tube one depicts forest scenes; two shows mythical creatures; three shows astronomical scenes. Are these Fey artifacts? We stow the lighter valuables and plan to return for the coin later.

All three remaining doors show signs that a large body of water is being held back by them so we decide to return to the circular entrance to the steps. We descend and run up against a massive stone door – as we descend the last couple of steps a sliver of light appears under it. An inscription in the arch reads, "Let he who is brave, make his mark." Two depressions either side of the door look invitingly hand-sized. Taking a deep breath I step up and place my hands in the depressions. I push lightly and the doors open.

Braziers spring to life as we enter to reveal a corridor with an ironwood bench on the right wall. I've never in my life seen so much opulent furnishings. Everything is exquisite and extremely valuable. We try a door opposite the bench and enter a crypt with a gold sarcophagus floating in a corrosive viscous oil. The room also contains three colourful tables, a sarcophagus standing on end, and a chest. Written above the arch is an inscription: "Galen. Gold, like water, in all dealings."

We retrieve an undamaged ivory horn from the liquid. The horn has four scenes on panels around the edge: Four men swimming across an ocean; four men feasting; four men battling a dragon; and finally, four men ascending from the earth. After rinsing out the horn I decide to pour water into the it and take a swig. I reel back as I feel suddenly fantastic: refreshed and less fatigued. I also got a sense that something in this complex is very important, and we are destined for great things. Overwhelmed, I have to sit down for a minute.

The chest in the room is unlocked and untrapped and has a plaque that reads, "Pity the Land that has no Heroes." The chest is empty except for a mirrored base. Cherry spots gold writing on the base that reads, "Unhappy a Land that Needs Heroes".  As she continues to look at her reflection she sees herself age. The effect occurs for all of us.

We continue on and step into a spectacular circular room, over a threshold with an immaculate stone tile carved with a skull. In the room there is a huge round table with a multi coloured mosaic. Sylke finds a fine script around the table, which reads:

"Heroes sleep. The Horn summons. The land rejoices. The Sleepers wake."

On the doors around the room are five plaques.

  • Malthus the Mighty
  • Patience Mother of a Dynasty, First of the Seers
  • Verisimilitude, Truth was Paramount
  • Althaeus, His Oath is Adamant
  • Reave the Just, Defender of those Beset. He was the Mightiest.

Behind the door for Reave the Just is a room with two statue guardians. Beside the sarcophagus are two racks holding a large battle axe and a suit of chain mail. Tribute or tomb?

The room of Althaeus, His Oath is Adamant contains a sarcophagus and nothing else.

The room of Verisimilitude, Truth was Paramount contains a plain sarcophagus.

The room of Patience Mother of a Dynasty, First of the Seers contains a sarcophagus on a pentangle.

The room of Malthus the Mighty contains a sarcophagus containing a picture of a lance.

The room at the end of the hall contains a curved indentation that matches the profile of the horn. The horn fits and opens a door to reveal a coldly-beautiful statue of a tall woman holding another portal mirror, which is similar to the one we found in the crawl space in the Old Sword.

The final locked door is secured with a fiendishly complex rotating lock. Cherry also discovers a trap linked to it that spreads a web of mithril threads throughout the floor of this incredible vault.

Fortunately before proceeding we decide to conduct a careful search of the 'Galen' crypt and find three pieces of a key, previously overlooked on the tables. It has to fit doesn't it?

Situation Report Thirteen (supplement - living with the fear)
Chronicles of Cran Crannock

Cran scratches his cheek with grubby fingernails. "Looks like we've got a problem. This place looks like it's dangerous. At least the danger is limited to traps and not any more of the unlife."

In the dim shadows that the lantern/torch casts upon the walls, Sylke nods unseen. “Luckily, we have a Cherry with her keen talents for sniffing out such baleful barriers to continuing forward.” She presses a gloved finger along a wall, absentmindedly curling her lip at the mildewed dankness that cakes the digit. “That said, we’ve seen nothing but evil made flesh and bone raised up and…”, she grows a touch more quiet, “other things.” She shivers at the last word but the lack of light hides the involuntary movement. “Be sure to keep your wyrd-crafted ancestral axe at the ready, mad one. I fear it will be chopping its fill as we disturb this crypt’s depths further.”

Cran glances over at Sylke and a broad grin splits his face. "You worry too much Sylke. My dad used to say that worry chills the bones worse than a northern blizzard. We'll be fine." As Cran turns away and peers into the gloomy passage ahead he mutters, "Well, we will as long as we have light."

Looking tired, Ugnan places the lantern carefully on the floor then leans against a wall. Rubbing the back of his neck as he rolls his head around, he takes stock of his surroundings. He snorts a short laugh and mutters to the darkness, "You know, if you had told me six months ago that I'd be robbing warehouses, dodging monstrosities in long abandoned mad houses, fighting the dead in mansions belonging to merchant princes and now," he makes a sweeping gesture with a grime encrusted hand, "exploring a tomb probably filled with traps and ghosts, well, I'd have called you a crazed loon! Yet, here I am." He shakes his head with a wry smile as he bends to pick up the lantern again.

Cran eyes Ugnan's herb pouch as he rises from his haunches and responds to the healer. "The old man used to say that if you've got a job to do, it's better to get on with it than live with the fear of it. Let's move on."

Cherry looks at Cran with narrow eyes and says, "your old man used to say a lot of things you remember, I bet he said them while wailing at you with a big stick didn't he?"

Cran grins, but the smile doesn't touch his eyes. "I deserved a walloping most days – I had a bit of a temper when I was young."

Chapter One: The Spice Merchants Of Sel-kai: Part Thirteen

Orgillion Manor & The Family Crypt

With the demon banished, the party are free to explore the rest of the mansion's top-most floor. Two large laboratories dominate the floor and both contain notebooks and grimoires that reveal the nature of Tobias Orgillion's research and that of his grandfather, Titus Orgillion. A series of poor investments by Titus' father and grandfather all but finished the families mercantile interests in Sel-kai and what little was left of a once considerable fortune was supplemented with the sale of the family's holdings in Sel-kai and Eidolon. Titus Orgillion was obsessed with the idea of restoring the Orgillion name in Sel-kai society and of creating sentient constructs that could be used as physically superior farm labor on Teaque Island and as unquestioning soldiers for hire. A master craftsman, Titus was able to craft a superbly articulated construct but struggled to give it the "mind" that he desired. Frustrated, with the lack of lore on this subject, he decided to contact supernatural powers but here too his efforts were balked. Then, by chance, he came across the papers and diaries that Larkrise and Sunset Damssen had left behind when they were "guests" of the estate (5729-5730). The twins were later moved to the Hadeshill Asylum from which they later escaped during the fire of 5738.

With the aid of the twin's writings, Titus summons a "denizen of Azydaer" called T'Chaga but the creature refuses to help and Titus apparently abandons his research and asks the Cloot family for financial aid; both were stalwart members of the now disbanded Honorable Guild Of Spice Merchants and were among the twelve "great" founders of Sel-kai.

Tobias, on the discovery of his grandfather's research, summons T'Chaga again by creating a portal but obviously, the demonic entity is now no longer held as securely as Titus had managed. One of Tobias' last entries in his diaries is that he is "going to spend some time with the 'old ogre' and "find those wretched books". Tobias was last seen heading into the marshes, south of the house late one afternoon. He never returned.

After defeating three armored skeletons, the party find a prototype construct that has been surrounded by an arcane ward of silver that seems designed to prevent magics or spell-casters approaching the thing. In the top of the constructs' head, there is an odd green gem, fist sized, that pulses rhythmically. Surrounded by delicate mithral threads, the party decide to leave the construct for the time being. Two large crates of Spice Guild annals complete the "treasure" haul and Ugnan delightedly thumbs quickly through these before the party decide to head to where they believe the Orgillion family crypt lies and where they suspect Tobias was heading. 

The Spice Guild, it seems, was always intended to be something of a Guild for Loremasters but in whose charge was to remain somewhat secret. In its early days, the Seers, Mystics and Astrologers who were drawn into membership (and sworn to secrecy) were charged by the Guild's unnamed creator with research into "the Great Dragons". After many generations, the Guild had identified that:

"While all dragons are intelligent, sentient and powerful creatures, the Great Drakes are all of surpassing cleverness and unimaginable might. Each is master of Arcane Power and could stand against a Lord of Essænce as equal. Among these great beings is a group who call themselves the Dragonlords, and of these there are now only a handful in number. All are thousands of years old, having survived the Wars of Dominion. Some rule lands, while others hold only their citadel and operate in more subtle ways to gain power and ever greater wealth.
All of the Dragonlords have the power of Shapechanging, allowing them to assume human form (among others). This has advantages in that they are able to move about freely in a world dominated by humanoids. The disadvantage is, of course, that they are more vulnerable in human form; theirs is a true shape change. The origins of the Dragonlords are shrouded in the temporal mists that divided the First and Second Eras. It is believed that an order of the most powerful Lords was formed sometime in the Second Era, its purpose to promote the dominion of the Dragons. It should be remembered, however, that though these lords may appear as humans (and in fact spend much of their time in human form), they are alien creatures. Great Drakes do not think the same way that humans (mortal or immortal) do; they are indeed Dragons."
Dated 3274

Research into the "Dragonlords" became intense with a particular interest of the Cloot seers being "The Heart of Agoth". The Cloots, Orgillions and Damssens differed on the nature of the Dragonlords and divisions began to grow within the Guild. The Orgillions believed the Dragonlords were a force for "good" and should be reached out to openly. The Damssens disagreed and urged caution for they believed these powerful immortals were "evil" and would subvert and conquer. The Cloots remained undecided and also urged caution and avoidance, besides, they were more concerned with their own research into The Heart. One of their seers recorded, after a dream-quest, the cryptic warning:

"Whoever possess the Heart will have taken the soul of Mab and will be thricely cursed" Dated 3277

The crypt is a few hours to the south, using a large key retrieved from the house, the party enter a dank and ancient granite and marble hallway that descends steeply. A large circular chamber contains four pedestals each supporting a fist-sized  obsidian rock. One is a cube, one a prism, one a sphere and the last appears to be unfinished and wholly irregular in shape. The chamber has been decorated with leering gargoyles and dozens of deep shelves have been carved out of the rock to house the bodies of long-deceased Orgillions. A second key that matches the one Cherry used to open the entrance lies forgotten on the floor – perhaps this was what Tobias used to enter? As the party pause to study the strange rocks and hideous gargoyles, there is a deep and ominous grating noise from behind. Looking up the stairs the companions discover that the mausoleum doors have closed and sealed them in!

Steep stairs lead deeper underground and with no other way out, the party descend. Taking a narrow passage to the right, Cran leads the way into a small crypt that is home to one of the very first of the Orgillion family, Adolphus. Little remains after so many thousand years despite the cold dank conditions. Armored "retainers" sit either side of the funeral bier but their rusted forms do not move and remain silent as the party carefully explore the chamber for Tobias' remains and Titus' notebooks.

Further on, the party enter a second circular chamber with stone pedestals. These are empty but are clearly designed to support and cradle the obsidian rocks  the group found in the first chamber. There is no clue as to the order or arrangement but the party are aware that extreme caution is required. The body, presumably of Tobias, lies face down in the center of the circle, blasted and shattered by some terrible arcane trap…..

Situation Report Thirteen
Chronicles of Cran Crannock

Skeletons and Piles of Damn Books

As the adrenaline dies down, we hear a door handle to the South being opened. I run to attempt to block it, but decide to time a push into the room to coincide with a pull from whatever is behind the door. The door bursts open causing the skeleton behind it to stumble and fall, and I'm jumped by two more skeletons from my flank. Sharna leaps to sweep one of the skeletons before punching a third.

Ugnan steps in and some blows are exchanged before I manage to get in a crunching swing that sends a skeletal arm wheeling away and ends by severing a few skeletal toes. "That ain't going anywhere fast", I muse as I disengage back to the corridor to help Cherry who is facing a skeleton alone and barely armed.

Sylke panics as she steps up to help Ugnan, himself floundering with his new hand axe, and fumbles a Shock Bolt: A small electrical discharge fizzling out from her fingers. I receive a glancing blow from the new skeleton's sword, fortunately choosing to attack me rather than Cherry. My follow-up swing crunches through ribs and takes a chunk out of its pelvis. And Cherry pulls off a stunning head-shot with a blackjack that drives the skeleton's head into its shoulders, dropping it in a clatter of bones.

Sylke attempts to sweep a skeleton next to Ugnan, but almost trips herself with the effort, as she mutters something most un-ladylike! Sharna swings one over her hip and rips an arm off, before I jog back to Ugnan and destroy the creature with a blow that separates its legs from its body, both flexing weirdly at the knees as they skid into the centre of the room. Sharna flings the final skeleton against a table with such force that it separates his head from his neck. The three are finished.

As we catch our breath again we study the room. A long table is littered with dusty glassware and what appear to be scraps of fur and hide. Small animal bones have been swept into a pile under the table; the broom lies discarded nearby. A smaller worktable has tools and surgical implements , all are dusty. A small notebook lies face down on the table. The notebook was written by Tobias Orgillion. 

Tobias' notebook and diary reveal much about the fate of Hywel and his family (suicide). Tobias carefully notes his discovery of these workrooms – long locked by his father and the discovery of his Grandfather's obsession with summoning and binding a demon. A few months before his death Titus describes a, "dangerously exciting discovery", in which he finally created a portal to the realm of "Azydaer". The portal and a lesser summoning informed Titus of a powerful and inquisitive demon called "T'Chaga" who apparently was willing to help the Ogrillion family in return for his freedom.

As Ugnan and Sylke continue to study the notebook they learn much. Tobias describes repeating the ritual though there are no details in this notebook. T'Chaga was bound to the pentagram and the helped Tobias understand and master many of the minor grimoires that his grandfather had used. However, the major tomes and more powerful oracular rituals were not present in any of his grandfather's books and Tobias became angry that T'Chaga would not help find these. On the day of his death, Tobias' last diary entry is his note that, "perhaps time spent with the old ogre will give me an insight as to where he hid those wretched books. T'Chaga will not help and his insatiable demands for food are getting boring. At least he cannot leave the manor and pester the ignorant peasants."

Through a door to the eastern side of the top floor Sharna comes across a worrying scene. A large arcane symbol has been carefully carved into the floor and filled in with a dull red metal. Around the outside of the circular symbol there are abstruse symbols. The room smells strongly of copper. As we move into the room, Ugnan strolls to the centre of the summoning circle and detects scuffs and marks that have broken the summoning lines in several places.

As Sylke enters and sees the summoning circle, she stops and gasps audibly.  She pats down her dress after a few beats and haughtily walks to place her back to it. "You OK Sylke?", I offer, concerned. Sylke points at a trickle of blood coming out of Cran's wound. "That's just blood. Your wound looks deeper." Sylke just mutters, "Hmmm?  Uh…Uhhh, yes.  Thanks." "We'll talk later Sylke. No point trying to hide stuff from your friends my old dad used to say." Something to pick at later. 

After Cherry was unable to pick a lock, I use my 'axe-pick' successfully and, beyond the splinters, we view a store room, crates stamped with, "Property of the Honourable Guild of Spice Merchants".

Cherry leads us to the last unexplored area. Dust covers both the tables and the alchemical glassware in a work room. There are many scorch marks on the floor but these are old. Cogs, chains and various pieces of brass litter the room. Two large tarpaulins are heaped against the wall and partly conceal what appears to be a metallic humanoid. Around the humanoid, an elaborate silver circle has been inlaid into the floor and then detailed with delicately traced runes The humanoid's head appears to contain a pulsing green gem.

Sylke walks forward to investigate the runes and encounters some stiff resistance preventing her crossing the silver runic circle. As she forces her body further into the circle, Sharna and Ugnan notice that the runes in the circle pulse faintly as she enters.

I move a hand to shift the tarp off the construct and the resistance Sylke experienced appears to be weakening. The tarp falls to the floor, but we learn nothing new about the automaton. After further experimentation we realise that the circle seems to offer more resistance to spell users. We confirm this when Cherry moves to fully enter the circle, and the water bottle containing Lyssa vibrates violently. Pausing all movement we stop to check on her and she speaks faintly that she is very tired. Is the circle draining magic?

We conclude that the last few generations of the Orgillions appear to have gone off the rails. Titus seems to have been dabbling in forging constructs; Hwyell and his wife committed suicide and Tobias wandered off into the marshes never to be seen again. After the Orgillions' wealth melted away, Deltar stepped in, trading slaves for arms and accumulating his wealth.

Stumped for a while we look search out the window and Cherry spots that the croft we noticed coming in is actually a mausoleum. We leave the construct-room and lock and door, obscuring it with a bookcase.

To the crypt? To the crypt bollocks! Bloody Ugnan wants to look for some more books.

The books are Spice Merchant in origin and look into the Great Dragons of Emer, guarding/seeking, "The Heart of Agosh". The Cloots, Damssens and Orgillions seem to have strong differences of opinion on the motivation and purpose of the dragons. An unknown Orgillion notes that, "Whoever posses the heart will have taken the soul of Mab and will forever be cursed."

Before we leave we search the library at the top of the stairs. Amongst the books, we find a few laboratory-style notebooks. Handwritten and faded with time there are numerous mechanical and engineering sketches – tiny cogs, intricate gear mechanisms and delicate levers are all beautifully illustrated and annotated. It seems clear that Titus Orgillion was obsessed with clockwork mechanisms and wanted to build a clockwork human simulacra.

Some diaries are also, and perhaps rather oddly, stored amongst the notebooks and engineering texts. These belong to Titus Orgillion and Tobias Orgillion, his grandson. Titus records his frustrations with his research into producing clockwork servants and then his delight at discovering the "mad scribblings" of the Damssen twins.

"Amongst the gibberish about the tolling of an iron bell, it seems they had uncovered a means of summoning an extraplanar creature who possesses much knowledge about the future." Dated 5942. 

Tobias writes, "The ritual to summon T'Chaga is rather horrible but I am convinced that the only way I can save the family from a life of utter poverty is to complete my work on producing clockwork servants." Dated 5943

"The damned ritual is most difficult to repeat with multiple human sacrifices but I cannot fathom how many or how they are to be "displayed". It seems that T'Chaga is quite particular. The twins left little practical information in their scribblings, perhaps the old asylum records will help. I shall endeavour to obtain these next month." Dated 5949

"Success! Though I could only maintain the portal for a while. it is clear to me that if I can stabilise this portal I will be able to summon T'Chaga and perhaps draw him into a confinement of my design." Dated 5966

The rest of Titus' entries fail to reveal how he stabilised the portal but do make clear his growing frustrations with T'Chaga – his last recorded entry is 5972.

Titus sent letters to Einwen and Hope Cloot (aka Old Mother Cloot) asking for financial assistance "in remembrance of the close friendship our families have long enjoyed", and there is some reference to this in his diaries. There are no details about the summoning ritual and one of his diaries is missing; this covers the period between 5962 and 5965.

To the Crypt

After a break where Ugnan brews up some Rewk for my concussion, we head to the Crypt. Hadn't noticed before, but this Rewk makes you feel great - on top of the healing benefits, it gives you a feeling a bit like a few brandies. I wonder if it can be chewed too?

We walk to the crypt, secured with a huge Oak door and massive chain and padlock. Fortunately the large key we found in the Mansion fits and we're soon inside. 

Beyond the doors, a set of stone steps lead down below into a circular chamber perhaps 30 feet in diameter, the stone walls are sculpted in relief, portraying grotesque visages. A number of wooden coffins fill niches set in the walls. A set of stone stairs leads off this chamber to a set of open doors. Four plinths hold four objects of different shapes.

I spot a key on the floor, but as I stoop to investigate we hear the entrance door close behind us. We're trapped in. The only way is onward.

A short tunnel to the right leads down to a vaulted chamber, in the corner of which is a stone sarcophagus that sits on a raised dais. Seated around the chamber on a narrow stone ledge are the remains of armored men, all covered in cobwebs and dust. The door to the chamber looks to have been opened in the timeframe of Tobias hasty exit. An inscription reads, "Adolphus, mightiest of Merchant-Princes', his sword built Sel-kai. 1638 – 1689."

A little further in and down some more stairs, we enter a large chamber with plinths on the floor, four contain small depressions; and between the four we find a mummified corpse of a young male, long bones splintered by some horrible magic. This has to be Tobias, killed by some old magic trap.

Believing that the small depressions may be designed for the four objects on plinths in the entrance chamber, we go and retrieve them. As we lift the last one clear we hear and feel a deep grinding as another door opens or closes somewhere deep in the crypt…

Situation Report Twelve (supplement - shame and relief)
Chronicles of Cran Crannock

Ugnan, his cheeks drained of colour, slumps onto a chair opposite the inert Loari demon with an involuntary groan. The middle-aged Shay eases forward to put his face in his hands. He mutters something and starts to massage his eyebrows with his fingertips, after a few rotations he draws them to his closed eyes and shakes his head a few times.

“You cannot question a dead man, lad”, he laments in a hoarse voice. Looking up at the recovering Cherry, his eyes betray tears starting to brew, which are swiftly wiped away with a comment about dust getting into them before an obvious hardening of his features.

“You could have killed her!” He fixes Cran with an accusing stare, “Are you the master of your rage or does it hold sway over you? On one path lies glory, the other, doom, I fear.” Unable to look at the hulking warrior any longer, he closes his eyes again and rests his head back against the chair.

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly before looking down at my large blunt hands, fresh cuts crossing the scars over my knuckles, fresh demonic blood ingrained in the creases. A single tear falls from the tip of my nose as I sniff, silently lever myself up off the demon and slowly walk down the stairs to the first floor. "He had Cherry. He had her. I need some air", I mutter as my face reddens with shame and the knowledge I have disappointed Ugnan.

Sylke continues to stare past the inert and twisted Demon of the Pale’s broken body, wiping her own quick tears away from view. It had been many decades(centuries, actually!) since she last witnessed the cruel carnage wrought that was the Demon-infested and fuelled Fall of Quellbourn in Northwestern Jaiman’s chillier North. She was so much younger and naive then. So eager to do as the Council instructed. So enamoured with the Council’s forward, and very inclusive ways to allow the oft-maligned Sorcery school to be taught with caveats. “Nothing but Demon worshippers!”, was the hue and cry by those opposed to it at the controversial time. So innocent, no matter from whom a command was given…

Too breathily whispered to hear, the Erlini maid utters a sharp oath, “Xenon, you duplicitous bastard!”, shakes her head as if coming out of a dream, and rushes over to help where she can. Seeing her healing-inept hands doing nothing but getting in Ugnan’s way, she catches Cran’s last words and follows him, though at a respectful distance. “Nobody should be alone in this dark place”, she chides him in her own head, wistfully thinking she will need to be constantly aware of her thoughts if what Ugnan says about the new leaf-embossed ring they found is true for mind reading.

The damp air of the clifftop feels good as I emerge from the smashed doors at the back of the Manor and take a deep measured breath. "Why is Sylke bothered about me?", I ponder as she walks up next to me. In silence, we both look out over the mist shrouded marshland, deep in our own thoughts. After five minutes Sylke glanced up at me and with a, "we should be getting back", turns about and walks back to the manor. I follow slowly after her.

Cherry, shakes herself out of the fugue she was in, grins and says, "What's the problem? Why am I on the floor? Sharna sweetie, give me a hand up will you.." Her eyes widen at the dead creature and then narrow. "I remember trying to look into… oh what did happen to me?" She briefly looks around to see Cran and Sylke rush down stairs then looks to Ugnan and Sharna. "Hey, lets get this show on the road. If you stop to think of 'could of's' and 'should of's' it could be a real death to us all in a place like this. And We haven't cleared this top hall yet." she looks out the broken window to see the small quirky woman follow the muscled ox of a man to the cliff-side. "Oi! Don't go peeing off the side there we have to climb down that way! we've still got top floor treasures to find too, come on you two".

Ugnan allows himself a brief smile when he hears the chirpy Cherry. Opening his eyes and sitting up at the young girl's words, he reluctantly pulls himself from the chair with another involuntary groan. As he waits for the others, he examines his new hand-axe, swings it a few times, then looks upwards towards the floor above while massaging his lower back with his shield hand.

Chapter One: The Spice Merchants Of Sel-kai: Part Twelve

Orgillion Manor – Second Floor

The ghostly figure is difficult to hit and seems immune to blows that would stagger any mortal creature and Cran is hard pressed to keep the creature away from the rest of his party. The sound of the fight attracts a small pack of ghouls and Sharna disengages to try and hold these off while an enraged Cran, bleeding from a minor wound, begins a murderous assault on the ghost. The creature shrieks in anger, perhaps frustration, as Cran finally destroys the thing. Oddly, as well formed as it was (the apparition was clad in an old fashioned business suit complete with elegant cravat), the ghost clearly lacked a tongue. 

Sharna has virtually crippled one of the ghouls and a second has been almost incapacitated when the rest of the party join her. Within minutes, Cran's bloody axe completes what Sharna began and all three of the foul monsters lie motionless on the floor. Taking a short rest, Ugnan attends to Cran's wounds and then the companions press on. The rest of the floor is empty but they find a small staircase to a secret room on the ground floor and more intriguingly, a suite of rooms completely hidden away in the eastern wing. In addition they find a small chamber adjacent to the suite that has a cache of money, a fine shortsword, a large iron key bearing the Orgillion family crest and an enchanted ring. The mechanism needed to open the secret doors to this "treasure" chamber and the suite of rooms was carefully concealed under a loose floorboard and consisted of two brass rods, one for each door. The door to the suite of rooms cannot be opened from the other side and anybody inside what were once probably very comfortable living quarters would have been trapped; the window shutters are locked and noticeably sturdy.

Inside this suite, consisting of a large bedroom and study and a bathroom, the party find the tiny skeletons of maybe half a dozen cats. These poor animals were obviously killed and then "displayed" by whoever resided in the rooms. The only possible clues to the occupants being some graffiti on the fireplace in the form of "Lar" and "Su".

A weapon cache found by the hidden staircase that leads back to the ground floor indicates that Deltar/Aenor's business enterprises includes this estate; the weapons are similar in style and quality to those they found in the Hadeshill Asylum and are all oiled and wrapped. A pair of particularly fine hand axes are taken by Ugnan, Cran is persuaded to "travel light" and reluctantly leaves an armload of swords behind. He picks up a curiously weighted greatsword and straps this to his back.

Resting and eating the party hesitantly agree that the upper floor needs to be explored next.

The stairway leads to a small library and study. Seated in one of the chairs is a gaunt and impossibly tall Loari. The demonic creature is fast and agile and launches itself at Cran without any hesitation, complaining of its bone-gnawing hunger. Sharna takes full advantage of this an in a frightening display of her martial powers, sweeps the creature into a crumpled heap against one of the walls. Cran follows up with a series of stone-cracking blows. The demon, "T'Chagga", attempts to bargain for its life but caught up in a red-mist of rage and pain, Cran moves in to finish the creature. Sharna prevents this but Cherry, drawing her new sword, moves in.

Sensing that something is not quite right, Ugnan, Sharna and Sylke try to prevent Cran's assault on the demon once again but grabbing T'Chagga's neck in his huge hands, the warrior snaps its neck with an awful crunch. Cherry drops her sword and collapses. Fortunately, whatever hold the demon had on her has been broken and she regains consciousness within a few minutes. 

The remaining chambers of this final floor stand open and inviting … 


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